Lula vs Bolsonaro – Hope for the Brazilian Amazon

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has a 15% lead in the polls ahead of President Jair Bolsonaro ahead of the first round of elections due on October 2nd (Reuters) . If 50% of the vote isn’t secured by either candidate, a second round runoff will be held on October 30th (The Times)

Forest fires have been the highest in the Brazilian Amazon this August since 2010 and are looking even worse for September. It’s reported that criminal groups are racing to destroy rainforest, clearing swaths of forest to farm on, ahead of next month’s election. Why? There are fears that if Lula is voted in as president, tougher restrictions will be enforced on deforestation. (The Wall Street Journal).

Aerial image of rainforest burning in the Amazon.

A wildfire in the Amazon rainforest.

Lula has promised to preserve the Amazon if he becomes president but there are some concerns from activists that he will not provide environmental and economic policy changes that will make a real difference. The numbers do stack up so far though. During his presidency, 2003-2010, deforestation fell around 82%.

Deforestation has increased by at least 60% while Bolsonaro has been in charge, destroying an area larger than the size of Belgium.

Change is urgent and there is huge hope that if Bolsonaro goes, destruction of the Amazon rainforest will slow down (Mongabay).